S J Klein's picture

77 Fremont Select

February, 2016
Judges Rating: 
19 / 24
4 / 6
32 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
16 / 20

The "session" style is a nice alternative to the hop and alcohol bombs that many breweries seem to be throwing around these days. A beer that's lighter in alcohol has its own challenges, too: Lower alcohol means less goods there to mask flaws and provide an interesting experience. As a Session IPA, this beer is hop-forward but lighter in body. It's got a sharp hop nose and a slight sulfidic bite. The nose is rich with pine notes and more rounded hop qualities. It almost feels like you're putting your whole face into a bag full of hop cones. The nose gets richer as it warms up, with faint plum esters and a mild green apple character coming forward.

Its dark gold in color with a fairly nonexistent white head, and s slight chill haze in the glass doesn't detract from the overall experience. In the mouth, there is a very sharp, hop-forward bite that is washed away by a subtle malt sweetness, followed by a lingering hop bite. It's very effervescent and sharp on the tongue, though it's not astringent at all, though it is quite drying in the finish.

This is definitely a hop-heavy lighter beer. I would have liked to see more rounded characters to balance the hoppiness – I'm thinking how British pale ales use estery qualities from the yeast to add depth, or more of a malt backbone. All the same, it's a light, refreshing full-frontal hop assault.